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Kyrgyz-Tajik border conflict death toll rises to 71

Kyrgyz-Tajik border conflict death toll rises to 71

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan said on Sunday the death toll from their border conflict had risen to 71 people, as a fragile ceasefire held between two Central Asian nations for a second day.

The former Soviet republics clashed over a border dispute on September 14-16, accusing each other of using tanks, mortars, rocket artillery and assault drones to attack outposts and nearby settlements.

Central Asian border issues primarily stem from the Soviet era when Moscow tried to divide the region between groups whose settlements were often located amidst those of other ethnicities.

Kyrgyzstan on Sunday reported 36 deaths from the earlier fighting and has also said it evacuated about 137,000 people from the conflict area.

Tajikistan also reported its casualties on Sunday, saying 35 people were killed. It has not reported any mass evacuations from the area.

The two sides agreed to a ceasefire on Friday which has largely held up despite several alleged shelling incidents.

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